Simpson & Vail describes Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake as having a lightly toasted flavor with the delicious taste of apples and cinnamon and I can’t really say it any better than that. The flavorings are subtle and should appeal to those who don’t like a lot of spice. I found it to be quite enjoyable, but had to play around with steeping times for this and some of the other flavored blacks that I ordered from Simpson & Vail. At 3 minutes, I find them to be ever so slightly bitter, but at 2 minutes, a bit weak- I think 2 minutes and 50 seconds does it perfectly for me with this one. I think this is a very nice dessert tea, especially for this time of year.
138 Tasting Notes
Nice balance of flavors, very subtle on the spice-mildly cinnamony. I used 3 gm/8 oz water and steeped for a little longer than recommended, just under 3 minutes to bring out the flavor more. This produced a smooth, creamy cup without any bitterness. I enjoyed this selection as a delicate dessert type tea. I’m still seeking a pumpkin spice that is a little more bold for when I am in the mood for something more Chai-like. I may get some more of the Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake from 52 Teas and try reducing the temp and steep time-the spicing was perfect, but it got a little bitter for my taste. I think it’s worth another try (oops, just realized it’s sold out. If anyone knows of something else like it, please let me know.)
Currently, on Simpson & Vail’s website, this is named Pumpkin Pie Black, but in their catalog, it is called Pumpkin Spice with the same item number T0694. I experimented with brewing times and preferred 2 1/2 minutes to the suggested 3 minutes. At 3 minutes, it was a little bitter. The spice in this is very subtle compared to other pumpkin spice type teas I have tried-a little too subtle for my taste. I’m still looking for my perfect pumpkin spice tea. This one has a nice taste, but it didn’t “wow” me.
Recovering from minor surgery and what showed up at my door?! My latest package from Stacy at Butiki. I placed my order 10/30 and am so impressed with how quickly it came, considering the hurricane and all. This is a very intriguing tea-it tastes nothing like any tea or pu-erh I have ever had. It certainly reminds me of coffee in some ways, but I can’t stand black coffee, yet this is not bad straight, and that’s from someone who always sweetens my tea to bring out the flavor. I wish I had the poetic and tasting skills that some of our reviewers have on Steepster, so that I could do it justice. I can’t wait to hear what some of them have to say. My guess is that some folks will love it and others, not so much. It is in your face bold for a tea, that’s for sure. Try it straight first. Then, if you’re not sold, add some milk and/or sweetener. I made lattes with the 2nd and 3rd steeps using an oz of frothed 1/2 and 1/2 and that was my favorite way to drink it. It is strong enough to stand up very well to milk or cream. Would I order it again? Yes, I would, to see how the coffee drinkers in the family like it, and to make lattes for myself. Thanks Stacy!
This is my second review on Tropical Mango. I made up 24 oz of this to take to work, drinking it warm to start with and then as it cooled off, I added some ice to enjoy it cold. As with all teas, I think a little sweetener really brings out the fruit, but it is also fine straight both as a hot and a cold tea. I decided that this is worth ordering again-it seems to have a good tea base and the flavor of the black is not overwhelmed by the mango-it is well blended. Teajo has sample sizes for sale, so I look forward to trying more of their teas. I like it that their teas are organically grown and they use all natural flavors.
Second tasting on Gui Fei Ooling. Really am liking the unique flavor profile with this tea. I’m sure I’ll order it again. I just placed my second order with them today. Hopefully Hurricane Sandy won’t slow things down too much since Butiki is in New Jersey!
I forgot to log this for some reason, but just as well, since my opinion has changed. Most reviewers have found it superb, but initially for me, brewed Western style, it was not a favorite, not that it is not a quality tea-I was comparing it to Golden Fleece, which I adore, and decided Laoshan black was a little too strong for my tastes. Today, I am drinking it Gongfu style for the second time with 5gm/4-5 oz boiling water, and very short steeps as instructed on the package. Gongfu style has made all the difference. I have been enjoying cup after cup (Verdant says you can get 15 steepings this way). I have discovered it is really worth trying both styles of brewing. When I don’t have time to linger with multiple steepings, it is nice to be able to brew Western, but when I have time, I’ve had some great experiences with traditional Chinese brewing, that is lots of leaf and short steeps. So yes, I like this tea! Would I re-order? Yes. And by the way, it is very nice brewed double strength with ice added. I’m curious about the Laoshan Village Chai-it is next on my list to order.
I like this enough to have re-purchased it at least three times. I like it plain or blended with other teas and iced or hot, but especially iced and always with sweetener. It is too tart for my tastes without sweetener and I can see why it gets some negative reviews if people are drinking it straight-it is mouth-puckeringly sour. I typically use stevia as my sweetener of choice. So right now, I’m drinking it hot for a lower caffeine evening cup. And it’s sweet, yet tart in a very satisfying way. Yum.
When I placed my order with Butiki, I was invited to pick some samples and was intrigued by this one, as I have not previously had rose-flavored tea. I confess I’m at a disadvantage when describing this tea because I have no idea what violet or calendula taste or smell like, but the rose has a strong presence both in flavor and scent(not overpowering though)and the jasmine is in the background. I prepared it as instructed and had my husband try it first before I added my usual sweetener. Once in awhile I am very much in the mood for a floral tea, and today is one of those days. This is delicate but flavorful, and the floral notes held up to three steepings to my surprise. As usual, I prefer it lightly sweetened, no surprise there, but it is nice unsweetened too. My husband prefers unsweetened tea and he enjoyed it too. So this is a win win for both of us.
I was feeling generous, so when my husband asked what I was drinking, I told him I was preparing Maple Pecan Oolong from a sample and then ended up splitting it with him. He likes his tea unsweetened and told me I should write that this began with a delightful oolong flavor, followed by a burst of maple pecan, with a clean finish. (Sounds like a wine review, but he’s in that business!)I like to sweeten tea, but Stacy is right, it doesn’t take much with this one. I picked up on mostly a natural fresh maple syrup flavor, which since I like maple alot, made this a very enjoyable evening dessert tea. My husband and I both liked it.
I am really liking this! Dominant flavor I pick up on besides the tea is almond. It reminds me of these almond crescent cookies I used to make along time ago when I could eat dozens of home made cookies at a time and not gain weight. I no longer make those cookies, because I can never control myself with good cookies right out of the oven. I lightly sweetened as recommended and brewed it for 4 minutes-didn’t pick up any astringency. A most delicious tea and highly recommended.
Wow, I’m sipping this thinking how unique it is compared to any other oolong I’ve had. Then I went back to Stacy’s comments on the Butiki website and saw that Gui Fei, otherwise known as Honey Oolong, is one of those Taiwanese leaf-hopper teas, just like the Mi Xian black that I like so much. I find it amazing that in nature, an insect nibbling a tea leaf can have such major effects on the flavor and aroma of a tea. Wow. And to think that an earthquake in 1999, causing neglect of tea farms and lack of pesticides and fertilizers, resulted in some great tea discoveries. I got 3 steeps brewed according to package instructions. The fragrance is very appealing, but I’m not sure how to describe it. An incredibly smooth cup with complex honey sweet flavor. Nantou County, Taiwan, is producing some mighty fine tea!
My second Butiki for the day. It is a “Ten” weather wise here in Atlanta, and I think I need to move outside for tea tasting this afternoon-perfect tea drinking weather, but then again, there is never a bad day to drink tea. Others have described this excellent Assam very accurately. I am grateful this sample came in my box from Stacy, but I regret not having more because it is a winner. I would say that this is a rich tea that does not have the astringency that I have experienced with the Indian Assams I’ve tried, but I must admit, I haven’t had a lot of Indian ones. I agree with Azzrian, this in not your mother’s Lipton. Until I tried some black teas recommended on Steepster, I didn’t even know I liked black teas because my mom always got Lipton tea bags and it never did much for me. Lately, I’ve been favoring black teas over almost anything else. My first impression is that it is a really good Assam and I plan to put it on my next order. Now, on to Butiki #3-which one will it be…hmmm…
Oh my!! I was so excited to get my first order from Stacy at Butiki. I can certainly see why Butiki is a popular company with veteran Steepsterites. I have 4 selections, plus 4 samples to try. Mi Xian, a premium black selection, is the 1st one I prepared and boy did it deliver. This for me is a perfect black tea. I have brewed it three different times since yesterday, to make sure I’m not exaggerating, and no, it is fabulous. I appreciate the beautiful packaging and clear instructions on each bag, the well done website,the free samples, and the helpfulness of Stacy on the phone. Now, back to this tea. Stacy points out that Mi Xian is a relatively new style tea. A unique feature is that leafhoppers, which tend to congregate where pesticides aren’t used, are allowed to nibble the leaves which causes the plant to initiate its healing process, making the wet and dry leaves smell like honey and lending favorably to the character of the tea. I think this is a very cool aspect to this tea. As I savor this wonderful tea, I pick up on wild honey and subtle citrusy notes with a creamy velvety body and beautiful fragrance. Especially for those who appreciate milder black teas, as I do, I highly recommend Mi Xian. I will absolutely re-order.
I don’t think I can add anything to the eloquent descriptions already posted about this outstanding Pu’er. I bought the sample size, so I will have one more opportunity to spend a day with it, and really, one does have to devote a day because it does stand up to many steepings. I used 5 gm with 4 oz boiling water for 2 min. and so far have had 10 steepings but I’m sure I’ll get a few more. I even drank about 12 oz of it iced, and it was great that way too. If I have the willpower, I’m going to save the remaining 5gm for awhile before I prepare it so it can age some more. Anyone who wants to give Pu-er a try should get some of this so they’ll know what a truly good Shu Pu-er tastes like.
This is my second occasion with Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake. I used 2 tsp with 8 oz of water, more tea than the last time so as to bring out the flavor more. I added some steamed almond milk and sweetener for a dessert experience. Like others have mentioned, I don’t pick up on the cheesecake, but nonetheless, it is a nice blend of flavors and quite appealing for an autumn evening.
I’ve noticed a few others comparing this one with the non-organic. I definitely prefer the non-organic. I brewed this one Western style, and if I get any more, I’d try Gongfu brewing with short steeps. The organic is a little stronger, so some might prefer it, but I love the non-organic and next time I order, I’ll get that one. In fact, the non-organic Bailin Gongfu is one of my favorite blacks-it is one smooth cup of tea!
As an RN, I was thinking, has anyone else noticed that what used to be considered quirky or eccentric has now been given a name and put in the United States DSM-IV ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) The next revision will appear in 2013 and will “tea obsession disorder” be in there? If so, I’m sure I have it! And you know what? I’m not looking for a cure! So after finishing my Golden Monkey tasting, I went on to Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend. For some reason, I never made notes the 1st time with this, but I’m really loving it today. Others have done a better job of describing the notes than I can, but it is a wonderful blend, great for any time of day really. I just wish I had a little more left!
It’s late so I didn’t want caffeine and remembered I had this tucked away. Arbor Teas has a handy guide with instructions on how to prepare chai latte. Following their advice, I used 3 tsp of the tea, added 1/3 cup boiling water, and steeped for 5 min. Meanwhile I steamed 2/3 cup almond milk and mixed it with the steeped tea along with sweetener. Next time I’ll use my frother for the milk, but I was feeling a little lazy. So today, being off from work, I have managed to work my way through a Golden Monkey tea chilled, 2 chilled Macadamia Nut Matcha lattes, a freebie fruit tisane mixed with Dragonwell and serve hot, and then this Chai Latte. A satisfying tea day. I don’t usually drink decaf teas, but I thought this was quite good and will be something I’ll keep in mind for a late bedtime snack.
First, a big thanks to Azzrian and AlphaKitty for their reviews on this flavor, because who knows when I would have tried it otherwise. There are so many choices! With that being said, I was very excited about preparing this today, since I have just purchased an Aerolatte, a milk frothing device. With a $5.00 off coupon at my local home goods store, this device was super cheap, and it works great! I sifted the matcha to get rid of lumps, and I used a heaping 1/2 teaspoon in 2 oz water plus 6 oz cold almond milk with a splash of cream and some sweetener. This stuff really does smell good in the bag. I ordered the robust flavor, but I’m glad I was generous with the amount of matcha, because I think you need a little more when you are using milk rather than water as a base. This thing was amazing. I ended up making a second one it was so good and I wanted a 3rd! The frother worked great-so quick- and it made it so nice and foamy, which I love. I have enjoyed every flavor so far from Red Leaf-this may be my favorite, but it’s hard to say because I love Caramel, Boysenberry, and Pumpkin Pie, and Black Cherry is on the way. To me, these are as satisfying as a milk shake and a lot fewer calories.
Today I’m trying Taiwan Dong Ding gong fu style using the instructions provided by Teavivre. I got 7 infusions, tasted each one a few times, then poured them together to finish. This is a lighter roast, more green oolong. It had good character and flavor through 7 infusions. I would describe the flavor as light green vegetable with underlying floral sweetness, even a hint of buttery character. It will appeal to those who enjoy lighter oolongs and is a good value-a very nice tea.
Measuring out the tea, I observe long, full leaves, consistent gold color and a pleasant sweet aroma. Mmm, nice. I anticipate an enjoyable evening with this tea. I’m curious about it-how will it compare to Teavivre Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip which I adore, and Bailin Gong fu, running a close second. Without trying a sample of this first, I had gone out on a limb and ordered 100 gms. I’m glad I did. The drink is smooth and tannin free with notes of oven-roasted sweet potato. The low astringency and sweetness of this tea make it a great every day tea.. The price is reasonable and I’ve been looking for an economical everyday “go to” Chinese black. My experience with TeaVivre has been exceptional. Golden Monkey is a little less pricey, which makes it a tea I will likely keep on the shelf.
As I was sipping along on this very enjoyable oolong, a new box from TeaVivre arrived-I get so excited when I get a new box of tea. Previously, I had enjoyed a sample of the unflavored version of this oolong and this is my third time drinking the flavored. I wish I had the two side by side to compare. Going from memory, I probably prefer this one, though both are very good. I have not brewed it exactly as instructed because I was afraid of going to boiling with this light oolong. I used 5 gms of tea in my Perfectea Maker, which is similar to using a Gaiwan due to the large brewing basket. I did a quick rinse, then brewed in 6 ounces water at 195. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes to start with and added 30 seconds for each subsequent brewing. I added just a touch of sweetener. I would describe the overall taste as pleasantly floral and creamy, very nice. For today, I have steeped it 5 times so far, with great results. It just keeps on giving! Not sure I’ll try for more because I want to try Taiwan Dong Ding which came in today’s package. This is one I would order-its something a little different when you’re in the mood for a “comfort” tea.
I had held off on drinking my last bit of this, knowing that it is no longer available. Finally, I couldn’t wait anymore and I finished it off yesterday. This really is a fabulous black tea. If I had to pick just one tea to keep on hand at all times, this would be it. Unfortunately that won’t be possible. I have some other wonderful black teas, but this is the best! I’ll always be looking out for something similar to come along. (Maybe David will get some more on this trip to China!)